Rockford's branch of GiGi's Playhouse had a lot to celebrate on Friday.
The inspiration behind the center, GiGi, visited the Rockford organization with her mom and sister. The playhouse is a place for those with Down Syndrome to learn and become leaders. The family opened the center as a resource haven for families adjusting to a new lifestyle.
GiGi and her mother are touring five of the nation's fourteen playhouses in just five days.
"Well, when GiGi was born, there was so much negativity surrounding her diagnosis, and I just wanted to take away some of the fear associated with Down Syndrome and truly show people the potential of our children," Nancy Gianni, GiGi's mother, said.
GiGi's visit was not the only thing the playhouse was celebrating on Friday. The center also kicked off its annual lemonade stand fundraiser all around Rockford.
The stands started three years ago after Grace Berlag wanted to help out Down Syndrome kids, including her sister Julia. The proceeds from the lemonade stands go to operations and education at GiGi's Playhouse.
"My sister, Julia, she goes there. She learn and she goes to different programs to meet friends," Grace Berlag said of the center.
The stands are open on Saturday, July 28, too, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the following locations: